Joint Statement on BATF Litigation - April 24, 2004

Joint Statement on BATF Litigation - April 24, 2004
Hobby rocketry received some major relief from the U.S. District Court
in Washington, DC, last Thursday. On April 22, 2004, Judge Reggie Walton agreed with NAR/TRA's interpretation of his recent order our court case. Judge Walton said that the 1994 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) exemption granted to hobby rockets as "propellant actuated devices" (PADs) remains valid.
This means that unless and until BATFE properly promulgates a rule rescinding the 1994 PADs exemption, fully assembled rocket motors are propellant actuated devices under the law and are exempt from regulation by BATFE.
We are free to fly, at least for the time being
Judge Walton further said that if BATFE agents take any enforcement action in the field that are not consistent with this ruling, NAR and TRA should come back to his court immediately and seek an injunction against BATFE.
BATFE has already said they intend to promulgate a rule rescinding the PADs exemption, and that they believe they can have it completed by December 2004. Their recent undertaking with regard to rulemaking on the 62.5 grams issue would suggest otherwise with regard to their ability to complete a rulemaking in a timely fashion.
The hearing before Judge Walton in Washington was a status hearing reviewing his March 19, 2004 order in our case. NAR/TRA Counsel Joe Egan and Marty Malsch sought clarification about the PADs portion of Judge Walton's ruling in response to member reports of BATFE agents insisting that the PAD exemption did not exist for rocket motors.
Judge Walton told NAR/TRA and BATFE to reach agreement on the specific questions raised by our lawyers, and Joe Egan sent a letter explaining the NAR/TRA position to BATFE on Friday, April 23. The text of the letter can be downloaded at http://www.nar.org/pdf/BATFE-4-23-04.pdf . (Note: this letter is a 625Kb PDF file.)
We suggest that members keep a printed copy of this letter with them any time you are engaged in rocketry activities and if a BATFE agent, who may not be fully aware of Judge Walton's decision, raises this issue, show them the letter and suggest that they contact your legal counsel.
Members who either are threatened or receive enforcement action should immediately contact NAR President Mark Bundick via email ( snipped-for-privacy@nar.org) or at 630-293-9343 or TRA President Dick Embry via email (, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com) or at 520-241-1582 and provide full details of those action or threats. NAR/TRA counsel will then seek the appropriate relief from Judge Walton's court.
NAR and TRA board members are actively monitoring the Federal Register and will notify the full membership if and when BATFE issues a "Proposed Notice of Rulemaking" on the PADs issue. Members who wish to monitor the Federal Register on their own may visit:
    http://listserv.access.gpo.gov
and sign up to receive daily notices. Members who instead wish to periodically view BATFE rule making underway can visit:
    http://www.atf.gov/firearms/rules/index.htm#proposed
to see outstanding and historical rule making activities from BATFE.
Finally, Judge Walton scheduled his next status hearing for December 19, 2004, to review any BATFE progress on rule making.
We encourage members to turn their attention back to the flying field to enjoy the safe, educational and fun sport rocketry hobby, and spend less time worrying about BATFE enforcement action.
Our counsel continues to provide outstanding legal advice and support to our cause. Our thanks to Joe Egan and Marty Malsch for their extensive legal preparation and for their hospitality in welcoming us to Washington, DC.
As always, we appreciate the comments, input and support of NAR and TRA members in this fight. And, as our case proceeds, we will continue to need your financial support to build on this victory. We urge you to visit:
https://secure.consumersinterest.com/nar/NARfrompres9911.html#donorform
and make a donation to the Legal Defense Fund today, in whatever amount you possibly can contribute. Your support and generosity will be recognized and acknowledged, and you'll be able to say "I supported the fight for an unregulated sport rocket hobby."
As we have further developments, we'll report them here and in our publications, as soon as possible.
Mark Bundick, President National Association of Rocketry
Dick Embry, President Tripoli Rocketry Association = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Mark B. Bundick mbundick - at - earthlink - dot - net NAR President www - dot - nar - dot - org
"A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but high above the quiet streets on the twelfth floor of the Acme Building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions. Guy Noir, Private Eye."
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Thanks for the great news! Where is my Scorpion, and when is the next launch in Texas (that WON'T be rained out!) ???
--
* Do NOT use Reply *

Reply to K3TD via arrl dot net
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LOL!
Ain't THAT the truth!!!
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tad danley wrote:

National Sport Launch, Hearne, TX, May 29-31. We're flying from the tarmac at the Hearne Municipal Airport, so nothing short of a hurricane will shut us down:
aarg.org/nsl
NSL '04 is proudly presented by the Austin Area Rocketry Group on behalf of the NAR, with the support of the entire Texas rocketry community, and special thanks going to our friends at the NASA/Houston Rocket Club.
James
_______________________ James Duffy NSL '04 Event Director snipped-for-privacy@mac.com aarg.org/nsl
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snip
Thanks Mark for some positive news. Thanks to those on your team as well. It's good to know that we can concentrate more on building and flying.
Randy DeArman
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based on what I can see, the pad acception only applies to SU motors and not reload kits. It does seem that the 62.5g limit for a SU motor is no longer valid however.
"fully assembled rocket motors are propellant actuated devices under the law and are exempt from regulation by BATFE."
Are there many vendors pushing SU motors over 62.5g? There might be in the near future!
Also, I wonder if this means that if I have an assembled RMS motor, it is exempt and doesn't need to be stored in a magazine, but if I have the reload kit unassembled, it needs ATF storage!

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Does that mean that individual slugs >62.5g are still regulated, but become non-regulated when assembled? To me, fully assembled means "ready to fly" and doen't only apply to single use.
Mark Simpson NAR 71503 Level II God Bless our peacekeepers
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I have many certified SU 29,38 and 54mm SU
Bobby B www.hangar11.com

well.
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IIRC part of the lawsuit asked the court to bill the BATFE for our legal expenses. Have we submitted the bill yet? I'm sure both organizations could find plenty of uses for those fees, such as funding the next round of legal challenges against the BATFE, shipping regs, educational programs, etc...
    Bob Kaplow    NAR # 18L    TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"         >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<< Kaplow Klips & Baffle:    http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
Save Model Rocketry from the HSA! http://www.space-rockets.com/congress.html
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could
legal
Good question. You can bet they'll be needed to "fight the future."
Randy
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wrote:

snippet from Mark Bundik:
And, as our case proceeds, we will continue to need your financial support to build on this victory. We urge you to visit:
https://secure.consumersinterest.com/nar/NARfrompres9911.html#donorform
and make a donation to the Legal Defense Fund today, in whatever amount you possibly can contribute. Your support and generosity will be recognized and acknowledged, and you'll be able to say "I supported the fight for an unregulated sport rocket hobby."
So obviously not, but I'd like an official answer to that question.
Alan
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If I am reading the below correctly, then the motor just needs to be assembled to be a PAD, not necessarily PERMANENTLY assembled.
Does this mean that if a manufacturer (or distributor) would provide a reload service (you send in your casing, they load it for you, and send it back to you assembled), that you would not need a LEUP to receive the ASSEMBLED motor?
Of course this would only apply until BATFE got around to changing the rules...
Bill the Geek, who has never flown anything larger than a G motor anyway.
or at 520-241-1582 and provide full details

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My $.02 worth:
The ruling states that a fully assembled rocket motor is a PAD.
The ruling does NOT state that a partially assembled rocket motor, or components of a rocket motor, are NOT PADs. In other words, unless explicitly spelled out (i.e., ONLY a fully assembled rocket motor is a PAD), there is still the possibility of a reload being considered a PAD.
I'm happy to be corrected if I'm misreading that, but if I'm correct, this means that another round of 'clarification' becomes necessary. On the other hand, it also leaves open the opportunity to 'assume' that a reload kit is a PAD, as it has been treated in the past, and let the BATFE prove that it isn't (and given the precedent that this case sets, and the judges advice, this is a distinct possibility).
David Erbas-White

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I am still unclear as to what is regulated and what is not.

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On 26 Apr 2004 05:53:39 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (CajunMan) wrote:

And my mo fo pussy hurts.
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You better get her to the doctor then.
(CajunMan)

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Correct.
It is "unhelpful" that NAR sought a ruling on so narrow an interpretation and didn't broaden it to the entire language as currently in the regulation as follows:
27 CFR555.141 exemptions (a) (8) Gasoline, fertilizers, propellant actuated devices, or propellant actuated industrial tools manufactured, imported, or distributed for their intended purposes.
27 CFR 55.11, Propellant Actuated Device. Any tool or special mechanized device or gas generator system which is actuated by a propellant or which releases and directs work through a propellant charge.
Also by forcing a lawsuit on the obvious rather than just "living the lifestyle", NAR and TRA has once again awakened a sleeping giant and this time he has his sights set on the one and only sweeping exemption in the law as set forth above.
This is a dark day indeed for amateur rocketry.
Jerry
--
Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
Opinion, the whole thing. <mail to: snipped-for-privacy@gte.net>
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Ah, you finally figured out that the BATFE intends to issue an NPRM that removes rocket motors from the PAD exemption, so you are laying the groundwork to blame that on NAR/TRA as well?
-- David

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Naturally.
They had exacly zero incentive bureaucratically till now. To make themselves right post facto.

--
Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
Opinion, the whole thing. <mail to: snipped-for-privacy@gte.net>
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I'm with you on that one Jerry.
wrote:

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